On these pages, I have written a number of blogs about Michael “Mikey” L. Feinstein, Esq., the Founder and President of Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”), a decidedly anti-Christian group. Mr. Weinstein is the author of several anti-Christian books and was named by Defense News in December 2012 as one of the “100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense.” In his public statements, Mr. Weinstein has stated that U.S. troops who proselytize their Christian faith are guilty of sedition and treason, and should be punished to stave off what he called a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.” This has been music to the ears of Obama “Administration” officials who met with Mr. Weinstein in late April 2013 to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military (including chaplains) who express or share their Christian faith with others.
In the most recent development, the oath of allegiance taken by new airman and Air Force Academy cadets was revised. Traditionally, new military personnel have raised their right hand, and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, “so help me God.” The Air Force now has revised the sacred oath by removing the last phrase from the oath of allegiance. Unsurprisingly, no Pentagon official or sycophantic general has had the courage to say who removed the phrase, or to give any explanation why. So much for fearless generals and nameless Pentagon bureaucrats who boast that “nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force.” This change started last August, when the Appignani Humanist Legal Center (“Appignani”), an atheistic advocacy group, recruited an Air Force officer trainee who was willing to object to being required to say the last four words of the oath at his graduation ceremony at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. In a letter to Air Force officials at Maxwell Air Force Base, Appignani warned that unless the phrase was dropped, “all those involved in violating his constitutional rights are subject to a lawsuit in federal court.” I am not sure that the lawsuit would have gone too far in the federal and appellate courts in Alabama, but our Air Force decided not to make an exception to accommodate the occasional atheist. Rather, the Air Force has now censored the oath of allegiance for everyone else. As a result, Judicial Watch, a conservative educational foundation that promotes transparency and integrity in government, has sued the Pentagon to get an answer. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated:
Unilaterally removing “so help me God” from Air Force Academy materials is at odds with our nation’s history, the rule of law, and the fundamental values of the American people. We want to get to the bottom of this controversy, and it is a shame we had to go to court to try to get past the Pentagon’s stonewall.
For more information about the Judicial Watch lawsuit, please see here. Interestingly, the Senate is presently considering the nomination of Deborah Lee James to be Secretary of the Air Force. Louisiana Senator David Vitter, a Republican, briefly raised the issue of the growing pattern of encroachment on religious freedom in the military at her confirmation hearing last month. Stunningly, she claimed ignorance. You might want to ask your Senator to withhold its approval until we really know what is going on in our nation’s Air Force. (New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, has blocked Senate action on Ms. James’s nomination for other reasons.) A recent editorial regarding this matter in The Washington Times opined, “The men who first took up arms to establish the United States didn’t establish a bland, godless society that a small handful of malcontents say they prefer today.” Perhaps as she awaits confirmation, Ms. James might benefit from reading a history lesson or two. She might also benefit from reading the Supreme Court case, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892), available here. For my readers, the pertinent part begins on page 465. I will keep you posted as developments warrant.